Like the Charles Dickens masterpiece, Carina Cellars began as a “tale of two cities,” but there were no worst of times when
David Hardee and Joey tensely set up tasting rooms in both Los Olivos and Paso Robles to showcase the outstanding Syrah-based wines that Joey was producing from stellar Santa Barbara county vineyards. However, the tale changed slightly in 2006 when the pair purchased the Rancho de Cielo property on Adelaida Road on Paso’s West Side, Vineyard manager Phil Stevens planted the steep, rocky slopes with small parcels of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Tannat, and began producing a new coterie of wines under the Carina label.
Today, almost all Carina Cellars wines are estate grown on 23 acres of the steep slopes of Rancho del Cielo. All the vines are planted densely in smaller 1 or 2 acre parcels to insure that vine competition keeps yields down, and all the grapes are hand-harvested. With an emphasis on Rhone varietals, Carina Cellars produces Rhone-style red blends such as the Sibylline and Clairvoyant, a bold Viognier with just a kiss of Grenache Blanc, a Cote-Rotie-esque Syrah-Viognier blend called 7 Percent, single varietal Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, and their flagship Iconoclast, a blend of Paso Robles Syrah and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.